One of the disadvantages of relying on a torture-regime for the facts about the torture they have been practising is that they have an interest in lying. And the job of a journalist in these matters - especially after the torrent of deception that came out of the Bush White House - is to exercise skepticism about the government's claims. National Review, in the Bush era, became a de facto propaganda arm for the government, and no more so than on the question of torture, an issue where one might have imagined a magazine steeped in traditional Catholic ethics, might have been just a little bit honest. But nah. So we had Deroy Murdock in one of the most repulsive columns ever printed in that magazine declaring
Waterboarding is something of which every American should be proud.
Not reluctantly forced to contemplate torture in the last act of desperation to save mass death. But proud. Nonetheless, Murdock was at pains to tell us:
U.S. and Pakistani authorities captured KSM on March 1, 2003 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. KSM stayed mum for months, often answering questions with Koranic chants. Interrogators eventually waterboarded him for just 90 seconds. KSM “didn’t resist,” one CIA veteran said in the August 13 issue of The New Yorker. “He sang right away. He cracked real quick.” Another CIA official told ABC News: “KSM lasted the longest under water-boarding, about a minute and a half, but once he broke, it never had to be used again.”
Oh really? From the 2005 Bradbury memo:
The CIA used the waterboard "at least 83 times during August 2002" in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.
In this, you see something that occurs in every instance of torture regimes justifying their stance. They invariably minimize what they have been doing, lie about what they found out, and refuse to allow transparency so that the rest of us can find a way back out of a labyrinth of untruth, pure force, and abandoned morals they have constructed. (I await NRO's and Murdock's correction.)
Moreover, it is worth pointing out that even if you accept the preposterous notion that waterboarding isn't torture - something no legal authority in human history ever has before Dick Cheney came along - and even if you accept the amazingly detailed limits that Bradbury placed on the frequency and severity of waterboarding to make it "legal," even then, we now know that the CIA violated those standards.